Effective Web Writing for Millennials

written by andrew

keyboard and hand with coffee cup

Before we get started, I’d like to introduce myself – my name is Giuliano Bellabono, and I’m a graduate from Red River College’s Creative Communications program.

I’m writing a series of three blog posts (including this one) as part of a series called, Reaching the Next Generation. The focus is on helping businesses and organizations better understand Millennials when marketing to them, designing for them, and connecting with them.

Millennials are generally between the ages of 18 and 34 and will soon be inheriting a very big, complicated world from Baby Boomers and Generation X. Millennials are also inspiring tremendous change in how we conduct business and live sustainably.

While preparing for this series, I came across a study by Nielsen. Its study reported that 49% of Millennials prefer to work for a sustainable company. Additionally, 51% will pay extra for sustainable products. By and large, it’s clear that Millennials care tremendously about the future of our planet.

May I Have Your Attention?

If there’s one thing you should know about us Millennials, it’s that we can’t pay attention.

Well, maybe that’s a little harsh. We don’t really have short attention spans, and to be fair, there isn’t any concrete evidence proving this, but in a world where Millennials are constantly scrolling through their news feeds, what makes you think your blog and social media posts are going to get noticed amongst the Millennial generation?

I avoid a lot of tweets, statuses, blog posts, and articles because they don’t interest me. But, since there are more than 74 million of us, those same posts I’m avoiding are actively read by others.

Millennials will read what’s relevant to them and if they end up visiting your website/blog/Twitter profile, give them reasons to stay.

I took some time to devise a list of tips to not only get your writing noticed by Millennials, but to keep them on your page instead of visiting your competitors’.

Encourage Two-Way Conversation

This will probably work best if you’re a larger corporation, but engaging in two-way conversation helps build relationships between you and your customer. It doesn’t even need to be something as obvious as “leave a comment and tell us what you think.”

Instead, you could include an experience or memory related to the topic at hand. I think what’s important here is that behind a business or organization is a real person we can relate to.

Refine Your Message

Imagine you’ve got 140 characters to get your message across – what are you going to type, even if it’s not on Twitter? This practice will not work every time, but it’s definitely something upon which you can build.

Remember that joke I made about our short attention span? While that’s not entirely true, you should write as if it were. Get to the point. The second we get confused, we’re off your website and on to a competitor’s.

Avoid Big Words

Remember when you were in university, writing that 3,000-word final paper? Remember how you would use the thesaurus to find a bigger word to make yourself sound smarter? Yeah, so do I.

Good writing shouldn’t confuse your reader. Keep your words simple yet meaningful to get your point across without your reader reaching for a dictionary.

Millennials want to understand your message without reading it more than once.

Break Up Your Copy with Headlines and Sections

Break your copy into sections and separate them with descriptive headlines.

Imagine you were skimming through this blog post and only read the headlines – you’d still get the basic idea of each point because they’re separated by detailed headlines. If the reader wants to read more than the headline – great, but leave that decision to them. You’ve done your job of providing relevant information in a way that’s simple to read.

Edit Your Work (on Paper)

Instead of editing on your computer, print out a rough draft and read aloud to yourself.

Millennials care about well-crafted writing, free of typos and spelling errors.

Whenever you’re writing, schedule time to edit your work on paper. Simple enough, right? I learned to start using this editing method the hard way.

In college, we had to deal with the dreaded autofail. Looking back, it’s not so dreaded, but if any part of an assignment included a writing error (misspelling a name, not capitalizing a proper noun, etc.), it resulted in an automatic failure.

Our instructors recommended printing out our drafts before handing in assignments. I didn’t take any of my instructors seriously until I auto-failed for misspelling my own name.

Stuff like this happens, and it’s significantly easier to catch mistakes when you’re not looking at a screen for hours a time.

Yes, Millennials generally spend most of their time using technology and they’ll likely skim over your blog post, or avoid the “Follow” button. But, remember, there are more than 74 million of us, and when you’re writing with these tips in mind, you’ve got a higher chance of not just getting, but keeping their attention.

I put together an ebook of quotes from inspiring, change-chasing Millennials. It’s called For Your Inspiration. Even at a young age, many Millennials are striving for change, dedicated to simplicity, and determined to prevent waste. If you ever need reassurance that what you’re committed to is worth it, I recommend downloading this free ebook. There are so many others out there looking to make a difference. You are not alone.

For Your Inspiration: Quotes from Young Innovators for Those Chasing Change. Download Ebook

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